As breast cancer awareness month wraps up, pink sashes will be giving way to hairy mustaches among runners in a new race series launched by Rich Janor and his Naperville-based sports event management firm, Game Day USA.
THE MO RUN, as the 5K race series is called, begins Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, and comes to Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 9.
The local race is the same weekend of the first marathon in Naperville, which takes off Sunday, Nov. 10, but Janor said his event is targeting a different crowd. THE MO RUN events will serve as fundraisers for Movember, a national men's health charity known for promoting mustache growth throughout November as it aims to make the public more aware of issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.
"Our numbers are biggest among the post-collegiate crowd," Janor said, about those already registered to participate in THE MO RUN in Chicago. "These are people not necessarily interested in qualifying for the Boston Marathon, for example, but they're looking to do something that's going to be a fun race."
Janor expects most of the race's projected 500 entrants to don a mustache of some sort -- be it naturally grown facial hair or a stylish 'stache drawn by a face-painter at the race's starting line at Barry Avenue and Lakeshore Drive along Lake Michigan.
"It's just a quirky, fun way of getting involved in the month of November," Janor said.
Eight years after starting Game Day USA in 2005, Janor said the business was ready to find a charity to support "in a big way."
"We decided Movember is a worthy cause and something we can have some fun with as well," Janor said about his company's first foray into supporting men's health causes.
The fun of the races will come from the costumes and mustaches worn by racers and will continue at an after-party at McGee's Tavern & Grille, 950 W. Webster Ave., Chicago. Shuttles will take runners from the finish line to the bar for free whiskey tastings beginning at 10:30 a.m. following the 10 a.m. race.
Janor and many of his staff members, who grew playoff beards as the Blackhawks completed their Stanley Cup run earlier this year, will be sporting mustaches as they host on-site registration.
"I've never really had a mustache before so I'm not sure how it'll work," he said. "But I'm looking forward to it."
Runners can sign up in advance at themorun.com/chicago for $35, while on-site registration costs $45.